Week One

I'm a little over a week into my stay in Oahu and finding my new routine is bringing me a lot of happiness and true relaxation.  I'm walking miles upon miles in my flip flops every day, something my feet are starting to resent me for. Band aids and sunscreen have been my best friends. Unfortunately, the one thing lacking in our area is a good grocery store within walking distance. I made finding organic produce a mission, and ended up walking 1.5 miles to a store, only to find that most of the items were rotting. Cat and I took a 40 minute bus ride to Whole Foods where we instantly got giddy and wanted to buy everything in there. We have a friend whose parents live on the island, and they were kind enough to let us borrow their car and do a big shopping trip. We were able to load up on vegetables and all the food we miss from home. San Francisco .. I am reminded daily of how lucky we are to have all the delicioius food, restaurants, corner stores, and farmers markets within walking distance and full of variety and flavor. Cat and I are making every meal at home, eating all of our leftovers, and saving every container our food comes in to reuse.  It's forcing us to create better habits and not take for granted the food that is in our home right now. This makes me happy. We might have been taking full advantage of our ability to order take out when we were back in SF.  

Waking up and looking out to this new space will not get old

Waking up and looking out to this new space will not get old

I see these guys on my daily walk. 

I see these guys on my daily walk. 

This was the day I walked 7 miles unexpectedly. I was hot, and looking for some AC and stumbled into an army museum. It was really neat and I spent a good amount of time taking myself through it and learning along the way. 

This was the day I walked 7 miles unexpectedly. I was hot, and looking for some AC and stumbled into an army museum. It was really neat and I spent a good amount of time taking myself through it and learning along the way. 

My daily bag looks a little something like this. I finished that book real quick, and love Lena even more now. One of my favorite chapters is called "I didn't fuck them but they yelled at me." It is all about the memoir she will write when she's 80 years old revealing how the older men in Hollywood are basically disgusting and rude and treated her like she owed them something . I can't wait for that book. I love her honesty. 

My daily bag looks a little something like this. I finished that book real quick, and love Lena even more now. One of my favorite chapters is called "I didn't fuck them but they yelled at me." It is all about the memoir she will write when she's 80 years old revealing how the older men in Hollywood are basically disgusting and rude and treated her like she owed them something . I can't wait for that book. I love her honesty. 


relaxing in our hot tub

relaxing in our hot tub


A pretty sunset followed by fireworks behind the Hilton Hotel

A pretty sunset followed by fireworks behind the Hilton Hotel

Our favorite swim spot

Our favorite swim spot

a snap from my daily walk down the beach

a snap from my daily walk down the beach

It took us a minute, but we finally unpacked the Canon. We went on the 11th floor of our building and took a few shots before taking a hot tub dip. Also, this is how I dress now. 

It took us a minute, but we finally unpacked the Canon. We went on the 11th floor of our building and took a few shots before taking a hot tub dip. Also, this is how I dress now. 

Other random highlights from week one:

I got to see a friend who is here vacationing, that I haven't seen in years. What a beautiful place to catch up. 

My first night here Cat took us to an amazing Korean BBQ place that was out of this world.

The pure blissful joy of having a washer and dryer in our apartment. 

Watching fireworks on the beach with Cat

Saving up our receipts from the ABC store like champions

Sunshine, swimming and reading every single day. 

Being told by an old man that I'm not swimming the right way. Then listening as he tried to teach me and then wanted me to demonstrate for him the proper technique (I declined). I then tried to swim with this proper technique in the ocean, when no one was watching me, and I choked. It's ok. 

No one wears helmets here and I am nervous watching everyone scoot, bike, and motorcycle around. 

It is utterly impossible to find bikini bottoms that are not super skimpy or super high waisted. I don't want either of those styles. #thestruggle

A lot of Japanese men wear capri pants, but somehow it works for them. 

"Is that a drone?" came out of my mouth. This is a reminder that we are living in the year 2014

I'm so happy and grateful to be here with Cat! 

Fears part I: Flying

Around 4 years ago I developed an intense fear of flying. Kind of out of the blue. I'm sure I've mentioned it on this blog before, and those close to me already know about this since they get my panic attack text messages from the airport. Since I'm on an island right now, where the only way on and off is by airplane, I figured I should write a post about this fear and what I'm doing to overcome it. 

Fears are interesting aren't they? Prior to 4 years ago, I never would say that I loved flying, but I was never terrified of it either (probably because I was able to have a cocktail or 3 and calm my nerves). When I was young I had a big fear of bridges. I remember one summer my family was on vacation in Michigan and we had to drive across the Mackinac bridge, which is about 5 miles. My mom bought me a stress ball to squeeze because she knew I was going to flip out.  I unbuckled my seat belt and crouched in a ball on the floor squeezing my stress ball to death. My brothers just laughed as I fell into the numbness of being afraid. This fear stayed with me for quite some time, and I still have moments of panic when I'm crossing the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, but for the most part I am fine. It just went away.

The fear of flying starts as soon as I book my flight. I instantly get a knot in my stomach and I'm mildly stressed from that moment until the moment I land. It really sucks. There's no other way to word it. Flying is a part of almost everyone's world these days, there's no getting around it.  I am still amazed and appreciative of the fact that I can wake up in California and then by afternoon be on a beach in Hawaii. Here is why I am working hard to get over this fear: I have zero family in California and need to see them more often. I want to see the world.  I want to live my life without being weighed down by fear. And also, it's beyond my control. Pretty simple.

I almost prefer to fly alone because I have noticed that my energy affects the one I'm flying with (which most of the time is Cat). With that said, Cat is a trooper when it comes to my anxiety. My meltdowns usually start before boarding a plane. I sit at the gate area and then suddenly without warning, I'm having my version of a panic attack. I've cried at the gate of almost every flight for the past 4 years. I'm not in hysterics or anything, just a little misty eyed and have shortness of breath. It's not embarrassing at all (except it's completely embarrassing).  Cat usually gets us some snacks, a crossword puzzle, and then I am distracted for a moment and can start to calm down.  I have taken anti-anxiety pills, but my adrenaline just overtakes them and I feel no different. I have contemplated hypnosis, I do my best to meditate. Nothing seems to really work. I usually text 3-4 of my friends all of which do their best to help calm me down (this is helpful, thanks guys.), and then finally once we are at cruising altitude I'm calm at 35,000 feet. Last November I made friends with a flight attendant after I almost jumped out of my seat and ran to him on takeoff (Kristen Wiig style in Bridesmaids). I had the row all to myself, I was in a ball, I stopped him and said "Are we going down? Is this normal?" and he said "oh sweetie, we are just fine. Are you afraid of flying?" Yes. Yes I am. 

Ok. So here are Aja Blue's tips to getting over the fear of flying (more like the fear of crashing):

• Fly more. This year I've had to fly about every 3 months, which is actually helpful because every flight is easier and less scary. I know that's still not very often compared to what some people do, but for me it's just enough time in between to not be so full of anxiety for my next flight.

• Talk to people who like to fly. I find comfort in the fact that some people choose this as a career.  I have plenty of friends who actually enjoy flying. I was talking to the oldest girl of the family I work for, and she told me she took over 40 flights in the 10 months she was traveling. Huh?! 40?! I picked her brain with questions like "Why weren't you afraid? Did you have any scary moments? How were the landings?" and she did a wonderful job at making me not feel insane for being afraid of something she's completely comfortable with. 

• Binaural beats. Jenni told me to download an app and listen to these to help calm down. I do it with every flight now and it's helped. In fact, I didn't cry at my gate for this last flight. I listened to them at the gate, as well as during takeoff and I never felt so calm on a flight. Thanks Jen. 

• Pray. I pray every day, not just when I'm afraid. I enjoy feeling and having a spiritual connection in this life. There is a comfort I find in just asking for some peace and calm.

• Watch a movie that will provide laughs from the gut. On the flight to Hawaii I watched "Tammy" with Melissa McCarthy. It's movies like these that help me forget that I'm hanging in the sky over an ocean. I let out a few loud cackles watching this movie.

• Take a bathroom selfie. I have made it a tradition to take a selfie in the airplane bathroom on every flight and then send it to my best friend once I land. I don't know why I do this, but it makes me laugh and it also gives me something to do as a mind distraction. I always look hideous in the photos, and i think that adds to why I love doing it.  However, this past flight the lock got jammed and I was stuck in there for a minute and that's when I stopped laughing. I have a knack for getting locked in bathrooms. 

• Let it go (I can't type that without hearing the song from Frozen). The bottom line is that this is really out of my control. If I want to do all the things I dream of, see my family and friends that don't live within a short driving distance, enjoy all the beauty this world has to offer, well then, I need to get on an airplane. My goal is to be able to book a flight and not worry, not feel anxiety for weeks before, not have a series of "what if's" flow through my mind and scare me to death. I want to be able to sit in my seat and be asleep snoring before we even takeoff, like the lady did sitting next to me on my flight to O'ahu. I was SO jealous that she was in a deep slumber before we even took flight. One of these days that will be me. 



And so the adventure begins...

When Cat and I got married back in July, we gave our friends mugs that said "and so the adventure begins" on them. I remember feeling at that point that we've already been living quite the adventure, especially with all the changes that have happened to us this past year.  I never once imagined that just a few short months later, we would be putting a halt to our lives in San Francisco and moving to Oahu for 3 months. Yet, here we are on a very big adventure on an island.

A little over a month ago Cat and her business partner got accepted into an accelerator program here. Cat had roughly two weeks from the time she accepted, to book a flight, pack, and find a place to live.  I had 19 days in San Francisco without her to tie up loose ends and get in a couple more weeks of work before flying out to meet up. I must say, it was quite stressful to figure out everything we needed to get done in such a short period of time. I wouldn't recommend it.  At the same time it really got the ball rolling for some house projects we needed to get done, like deep cleaning our closets.  I also realize how truly lucky I am that my jobs have been kind enough to let me take this extended time off. Who does that? Most employers would say "goodbye and good luck" but mine said "Go have a wonderful time and we will see you when you get back!" I don't even have words that can begin to describe how truly thankful I am for this opportunity. All I know is that I intend to pay it forward somehow. 

And so the adventure begins. I had a lot to do the last couple of days in San Francisco, one of those was pack my suitcase. This is my 3rd time coming to this island, but I just wasn't sure how to pack for 3 months. I can't wrap my head around the fact that I don't have to dress in layers. I can already tell you that I've brought too many shoes, as I've only been wearing flip flops since I landed. I also wanted to make sure that I was able to stay creative while I'm here, so I did pack a duffle bag with some equipment to be able to make music and keep that part of me from going stir crazy. I will not have a guitar for 3 months, and I'm not exactly sure how that's going to go. I did my best not to overpack, and I think I did a pretty ok job. Although, I do have a feeling I might be living in a grand total of 3 outfits while I'm here.  I know this is an odd thing to share, but I'd like to show you what my suitcase looked like. I've never packed with compression bags before, but I picked some up at Target, and I'm not sure I can ever go back. Here is what my 3 months of clothes looks like:

compressed

compressed

This is what all of my tank tops and t-shirts look like. Not a very good photo. 

This is what all of my tank tops and t-shirts look like. Not a very good photo. 

 

We are living in a studio apartment on the 26th floor. Our "furnished" apartment doesn't have much, as Cat has had to go spend money on odds and ends to let us be able to cook a proper meal in the kitchen. But I really like it and it does have some luxuries that our place in SF doesn't have, like a washer and dryer in our apartment, a nice island to eat at, a pool, hot tub and fitness room on the 11th floor, and at night when we open the curtains the view is beautiful. There's something comforting about not having all of my "things" here. It's a nice experiment to see what I truly need and what I just have because I think I need it.

night view

night view

As soon as my suitcase hit the floor my bathing suit was on. We headed to the beach where we shared a garlic shrimp plate from a food truck and talked about how we never want to spend 19 days apart again. This was our view:


We went exploring for a less populated place to swim..

We went exploring for a less populated place to swim..

We found it!

We found it!

Day 2. I plan on being makeup free and enjoying every second of having salty messy hair for the next few months. 

Day 2. I plan on being makeup free and enjoying every second of having salty messy hair for the next few months. 

I'm very excited to be here. I want to use this time as a mind, body and soul reboot. Before writing this, I spent my morning dancing by myself in the living room(which is technically also the bedroom). I told Cat that and she got a kick out of that image. I don't dance in my SF apartment because the downstairs neighbors hit the ceiling with a broom as a passive way to tell me to knock it off. SO, I'm taking advantage of all the little things.. like dancing in my living room!